If you’ve reached the end of your tether when it comes to trawling through aisles of cold sandwiches and half-full bags of crisps, we have a suggestion. Well, we actually have a few – make the most of your lunchtime by making your way to restaurant hub Soho and trying out one of our top picks. Reclaim your lunch break and book a table today.
Why: If you’re ok with a little bit of queuing, lunch at Bao is a Soho rite of passage. The set lunch menu is available for £17 and includes a choice of bao (with options such as confit pork and lamb shoulder), Taiwanese fried chicken with pickled cabbage, and a bowl of warm guinea fowl chi shiang rice. If you’re having a cheeky drink, don’t miss the Asian-inspired cocktails, including a Soy Old Fashioned and a Rhubarb Spritz.
Where: 53 Lexington Street, W1F 9AS
Bob Bob Ricard
Why: This glam Soho destination has recently launched off-peak menu pricing, meaning if you visit for lunch between Monday and Wednesday, you can enjoy 25% off the regular à la carte. Discounted dishes to choose from include a chicken, mushroom and Champagne pie, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and salmon tartare with cucumber, fennel and horseradish. If you’re keen to avoid heading back to the office, opt for a dessert like the sour cherry soufflé.
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
Bocca di Lupo
Why: Serving some of the best regional Italian food in the capital, Bocca di Lupo offers a daily-changing one dish lunch for no more than £10. If you’d rather stick to the à la carte, you can make the most of comforting pastas, including spaghetti with sea urchin, butter and lemon, or pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Prefer fish for your lunch? Opt for the sea bream or the grilled mackerel – it’s hard to go wrong with a menu like this.
Where: 12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB
Why: Lunch at this all-female kitchen is served 12N-3pm, and can be found nestled inside buzzy Kingly Court. Serving up a string of spicy, homely dishes, the menu includes venison meatballs in a creamy tomato and chili sauce, beef strips cooked with green chillies, and slow-cooked goat curry with potatoes. We also love the Indian twist on carrot cake, which is realised via carrot halwa which comes garnished with pistachios and drizzled with cream.
Where: 2nd Floor, 6-8 Kingly Street, W1B 5PW
Why: Open 12N-2.30pm, the original Hoppers (the second site is in Marylebone) is a great place for lunch with a difference. Serving South Indian fare, it offers an express lunch menu for just £19. For your money, you get mutton rolls, a lamb or veg kothu roti, one of the signature Hoppers and a choice of tea or sweet frothy kaapi (Indian filter coffee). Just remember to factor in some time for queuing, as this place remains wildly popular.
Where: 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Why: Chef Judy Joo’s mash up of Korean and US street food offers a set lunch menu, where diners can enjoy three dishes for £20. Options here include chipotle short-rib tacos, double-fried chicken wings with hot sauce, and a pork and kimchi hot pot. Top it off with something sweet, such as honey cheesecake, or the chili-spiced brownie served with miso ice cream. Lunchtime sips meanwhile, include house-made ice teas and virgin cocktails.
Where: 15 Kingly Street, W1B 5PS
Why: The menu at Indian small plates joint Kricket kicks off with a selection of kulcha bread, with toppings including brown crab butter, or date and pistachio. The main event sees the likes of Keralan-fried chicken with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mooli, and duck breast with blood orange and rhubarb chutney. We’d recommend the masala chai (which you can spike with rum) to wash it all down.
Where: 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
Why: Lunch at Yottam Ottolenghi’s spin-off from his eponymous delis is served from 12N-3pm and is a pretty healthy affair. Start with the likes of vegetable crudités with nori aioli, before moving on to dishes such as sea bass with calabrese peppers and spring greens, or a chickpea pancake with spiced peas, tomato, pickled chilli and yuzu. If you’re planning on skipping dinner, why not add an indulgent side of truffle polenta chips, topped with parmesan?
Where: 21-22 Warwick Street, W1B 5NE
Why: It may have been founded all the way back in 1926, but this Soho sanctuary is showing no signs of slowing down. At lunchtime, we’d recommend The Soho Set, which allows diners to enjoy two courses for £17.50 and three courses for £22.50. On the menu, you’ll find the soup of the day, followed by braised ox cheek with onions, mushrooms and bacon, before ending with a dessert of buttermilk pudding, topped with berries.
Where: 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
Social Eating House
Why: This often heaving joint from serial restaurateur Jason Atherton offers a lunch prix-fixe with three courses for £26.50. You’ll find hearty options, such as mac ‘n’ cheese with shaved mushrooms, or the 40-day aged, Cumbrian rump steak which comes served with mixed leaf salad, duck fat chips, béarnaise or peppercorn sauce. If you’ve got any room left, 70% chocolate delice served with milk and honey ice cream is sure to fill it.
Where: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR
Why: If you’re looking for a laid-back option, this Palestinian café offers a ‘street food’ lunch (12N-5pm) for under a tenner. The offering features a salad-stuffed wrap with a filling of spicy chicken, lamb tahini kofta or Jerusalem falafel, and side options including fries or a fattoush bread salad. You can add a mini mezze starter for £2.50 extra, with options such as lentil soup, grilled halloumi or marinated olives.
Where: 77 Berwick Street, W1F 8TH
Why: Chef Neil Rankin’s first Temper (followed by City and Covent Garden sequels) features a concise menu of tacos, flatbread wraps and tortillas. Perfect for a sharing lunch with colleagues, taco fillings include crab and pickled onion pork skin, smoked goat, and even a cheeseburger variety. Meanwhile, flatbreads come topped with beef, goat and lamb, while indulgent sides are covered via beef-fat potatoes and grilled corn.
Where: 23 Broadwick Street, W1F 0QA
Why: The Soho site of seafood mini-chain Wright Brothers offers up trendy poké bowls at lunchtime, with combinations including soy-mirin marinated salmon with tempura avocado, or chargrilled Cornish mackerel with boiled egg and beetroot salsa. If you’ve got a bit more time to spare, opt for the à la carte, which features the likes of cod fillet with crushed swede and samphire, and mussels with Penang curry sauce.
Where: 13 Kingly Street, W1B 5PW
Why: A less expensive way to enjoy the menu at this luxury Chinese is to go for lunch. The Taste of Yauatcha menu (served from 2-5.45pm) features the signature baked venison puffs, alongside other top-drawer dim sum, including a Champagne scallop and prawn dumpling, and a mushroom roll. Finish off with some of Yauatcha’s famed macarons, alongside jasmine green tea.
Where: 15-17 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL
If you love eating in Soho at any time of the day, check out our pick of the best restaurants in the area.